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Old November 17th, 2009, 07:46 AM   #16
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John,

Look here and specifically at section 5, 6 and 7.

http://downloadmirror.intel.com/17882/eng/readme.txt
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Old November 17th, 2009, 05:50 PM   #17
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Ok - section 7 blows my mind - I just can't tell whether that document is an instruction manual or a kind of "You can do it this way or you can do it that way" thing. I know I struggle to figure out what to do.

Section 5 says:

5.1 General Installation Notes

1. If you are installing the operating system on a system
configured for RAID or AHCI mode, you must pre-install
the Intel(R) Matrix Storage Manager driver using the
F6 installation method described in section 5.3.

Well I am not installing the OS because I already have. So I don't know whether that applies to me... either way, that is exactly what I did, just using the previous driver...

5.2 Windows Automated Installer* Installation from Hard
Drive or CD-ROM

Note: This method is applicable to systems configured for
RAID or AHCI mode.

which mine is, so this is what I did.

1. Download the Intel(R) Matrix Storage Manager setup file
and double-click to self-extract and to begin the setup
process.

2. The 'Welcome' window appears. Click Next to continue.

3. The 'Uninstallation Warning' window appears. Click Next
to continue.

4. The 'Software License Agreement' window appears. If you
agree to these terms, click Yes to continue.

5. The 'Readme File Information' window appears. Click Next
to continue.

6. The 'Choose Destination Location' window appears.
Click Next to continue.

7. The 'Select Program Folder' window appears. Click Next
to continue installing the driver.

8. If the Windows Automated Installer* Wizard Complete window
is shown without a prompt to restart the system, click
Finish and proceed to step 8. If it is shown with a
prompt to restart the system, click Yes, I want to
restart my computer now. (the default selection) and
click Finish. Once the system has restarted,
proceed to step 8.

9. To verify that the driver was loaded correctly, refer
to section 6.

which I did and the driver was installed. However there is no performance change, which makes me think that this was not the correct method...

5.3 Pre-Installation Using the F6 Method.

I am happy to try this out just to see if it's more effective. I don't know whether it will be or not and I'd be frustrated if I went through it all and it accomplished nothing...

Interestingly, despite being the Win7 driver, there is no reference to Win7 in the whole document.

EDIT: Just went home and formatted the drive, re-intalled Windows 7, loading the updated driver before installation, ran HD Tach and got... you guessed it... exactly the same result...

Do I need to reconstruct the RAID in the BIOS?
Attached Thumbnails
Help Needed Improving my PP4 Benchmark Results-capture.jpg  
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Last edited by John Hewat; November 17th, 2009 at 10:09 PM.
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Old November 17th, 2009, 11:17 PM   #18
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John, what drives are you using in your Raid 0? If there is even one different model, it could cause these sort of issues.

Also, you don't need to install a Raid driver when installing 7 since the OS is going onto a single non-raid drive(Raptor). You can install the Intel Matrix Storage Manager after install.

One more thought: when I installed 7 a couple weeks ago, I didn't need any drivers for Win 7 to 'see' the 2 drive Raid in addition to the SSD and another single drive during the process of selecting which drive to install 7 on.

Sorry to say this but I think you should reinstall again and DONT install any drivers during the install stage.

One more observation: you shouldn't need to remove any data from the drives in order to test their read speed.
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Old November 18th, 2009, 01:48 AM   #19
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4 x 500GB Seagate drives:

Samsung HD501LJ SpinPoint 500GB, 16MB CACHE, SATAII/300, 7200RPM, NCQ, NoiseGuard, ImpacGuard, SilentSeek

They're all exactly the same. The serial numbers are even sequential!



EDIT: Just re-installed Windows without loading any drivers and sure enough,.... the exact same results running HD Tach...

Should I install the drver and Storage Manager now?

I'm not even sure what Storage Manager does...

Should I just bite the bullet and buy a RAID controller?

This one? I believe it will go in my X7DWA-N's PCI-X port. Unless I'm missing something.

Or this one which is PCI-E, which I suppose makes it newer.
(Also, what's the advantage of the battery unit?)

Should I just tear out the drives and buy new ones? Is there no way it could be a hardware problem?
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Old November 27th, 2009, 09:12 AM   #20
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Just replaced the 4x500GB drives with 3x1TB drives with the 32M cache.

Attached is my HD Tach result now. Is that better? Will she go faster?

My PPBM score hasn't improved though - no matter what I do, I cannot improve it!
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Help Needed Improving my PP4 Benchmark Results-3x1tb-32mb-samsung-spinpoints-raid-0.jpg  
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Old November 27th, 2009, 11:30 AM   #21
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John,

Although the results are better than in the previous configuration, it still disappoints me. With 3 x 1 TB Samsungs in raid0 I would have expected something like a 250-280 MB/s average read rate. This probably implies that the ICHR controller is using older drivers, although the design is sub-optimal when compared to dedicated controllers. Have a look at the Intel site to see if a more recent .INF file is available. Intel® Desktop Board DG965WH*RAID: Intel® Matrix Storage Manager Driver for Intel Desktop Boards

BTW: I passed the magic 40s barrier!
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Old November 27th, 2009, 03:30 PM   #22
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That link appears to take me to downloads for a different board. I can't navigate the Intel site to my board (X7DWA-N) - though it appears to be the same driver for all the family of Intel boards.

But even so, I'm fairly certain that the driver of the ESB2 RAID controller in Device Manager is the one from that download. And if I wanted to update it using the link from that site I'd have to re-install Windows...
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Old November 27th, 2009, 04:28 PM   #23
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John,

I have no further suggestions, I just don't know how to further improve your benchmark results. Mind you, it is quite a lot easier when I'm physically sitting behind a computer than to give advise in words over the forum. But your system is still in second place after Bill's overclocked system and ahead of his highly tuned system at normal clock speed, if we only look at E54xx systems. You are way ahead of Roger Averdahl's system, which is also an E54xx system on the same mobo. Your results are nothing to be ashamed of, in fact they are pretty good given that it is a somewhat older system.

Sorry I could not give any more suggestions to help you improve the score, but I am at my wit's end on this.
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Old November 27th, 2009, 09:19 PM   #24
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Take a look here to see if this is the problem:
Server Products - Slow Integrated RAID Performance Due to Incorrect Physical Drive Settings

For shits and giggles, can you try the 4 new drives in Raid 10 and Raid 5? This can be done in Windows through the Matrix Storage Manager software. And also a 2 drive Raid 0?

I tried to find similar problems with your board and ESB2 via google but couldn't find anything.

For the Raid card: if all you need is Raid 0, then Highpoint 2640X4 4 port in PCI E x4 will work just fine. Mac people use em all the time and they are inexpensive.

If you need more now or possibly later, then the new LSI 9260 or 9240 SAS 8 port PCI-E or Adaptec 5805. However, since you only have 1 PCI-E slot open, that PCI-X Adaptec will work just fine.
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Old November 28th, 2009, 04:28 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harm Millaard View Post
...You are way ahead of Roger Averdahl's system, which is also an E54xx system on the same mobo.
Yes, my results are not good for that system. I will do a new test when i install Windows 7 on a Intel® X25-M Gen2 160GB SSD and have another Intel® X25-M Gen2 160GB SSD disk as a scratch disk. :)
I am just waitning for my new Blu-ray burner, when it arrives the install process begins! :)

Today i have an old install of Vista, to much unnecessary Services running and to little time to re-install Vista and to little time to fix the unnecessary Services.
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Old November 29th, 2009, 01:07 AM   #26
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First of all, thank you Harm for all your help on this problem - I'd have given up on me a long time ago. I owe you a beer for all you've taught me about computers.

Steve, in Harm's To RAID or not to RAID article he says:
Quote:
The common Promise and Highpoint cards are all software controllers that (mis)use the CPU and RAM memory.
So it sounds like the Highpoint cards might not be so hot - but then perhaps for RAID 0 they're ok?

The one I've been looking at is the Adaptec 3405. Good/No good/Eqwual to the cheaper Highpoint?

I tried to figure out how to adjust the Write Cache and Read Ahead settings, but it seems thwat Storage Manager is less about managing and more about viewing. I cannot figure out how to manipulate anythinglet alone change the RAID type from 0 to 5.

I have saved a report from Storage Manager and have included some parts that may be relevant here:

System Information

Kit Installed: 8.9.0.1023
Kit Install History: 8.9.0.1023, Uninstall
Shell Version: 8.9.0.1023

OS Name: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate
OS Version: 6.1.7600 Build 7600
System Name: WIN7-EDITOR
System Manufacturer: Supermicro
System Model: X7DWA
Processor: Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU X5450 @ 3.00GHz
BIOS Version/Date: Phoenix Technologies LTD 6.00, 11/15/2007

Intel(R) Matrix Storage Manager

Intel RAID Controller: Intel(R) ESB2 SATA RAID Controller
Number of Serial ATA ports: 6

...

Array_0000
Status: No active migrations
Hard Drive Data Cache Enabled: Yes
Size: 2794.5 GB
Free Space: 747.5 GB

Number of Hard Drives: 3
Hard Drive Member 1: SAMSUNG HD103UJ
Hard Drive Member 2: SAMSUNG HD103UJ
Hard Drive Member 3: SAMSUNG HD103UJ
Number of Volumes: 1
Volume Member 1: FOOTAGE

...

Hard Drive 1
Usage: Array member
Status: Normal
Device Port: 2
Device Port Location: Internal
Current Serial ATA Transfer Mode: Generation 2
Model: SAMSUNG HD103UJ
Serial Number: S13PJ90S730634
Firmware: 1AA01118
Native Command Queuing Support: Yes
Hard Drive Data Cache Enabled: Yes
Size: 931.5 GB
Physical Sector Size: 512 Bytes
Logical Sector Size: 512 Bytes
Number of Volumes: 1
Volume Member 1: FOOTAGE
Parent Array: Array_0000

then it has the same for HDD 2 & 3 - (remember my new RAID only has three Samsung drives - not four)

...

Unused Port 0
Device Port: 1
Device Port Location: Internal

CD/DVD Drive 0
Device Port: 5
Device Port Location: Internal
Current Serial ATA Transfer Mode: Generation 1
Model: HL-DT-ST BD-RE GGW-H20L
Serial Number: K1A7CHI0321
Firmware: YL01

I've attached the entire document - does it indicate anything important?

EDIT:

I've only just realised that the 3x1TB Samsung drives in RAID 0 creates a Volume of just over 2TB, with 700GB unallocated. Why's that? Is there a maximum of 2TB for onboard RAID0??
Attached Files
File Type: txt raid report.txt (4.0 KB, 440 views)
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Old November 29th, 2009, 03:25 AM   #27
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John,

As I said in my article on Raids, for a raid0 a software raid is enough, and that includes the Highpoint. However, with parity check raids, like raid3/5/6 it is quite a burden to calculate parity and write or read it and possibly correct data. In those cases a hardware raid controller has a distinct advantage, like the Adaptec you mentioned.

I have never used Storage Manager, so I can't answer that.

You are correct that the default maximum raid size is 2 TB. In order to use larger raids, you need to enable LBA 64 or if that is not an option, you need to format the disks with a sector size of 4K, instead of the default 512 B sectors. Using LBA 64 gives a maximum size of 512 TB, using a sector size of 4 K gives a maximum size of 16 TB. I guess that Storage Manager does not allow LBA 64, but try it anyway because it works much better than the increased sector size. For the Windows method you need to convert the disk to GPT.

The other alternative is to use different raid0 arrays, each smaller than 2 TB.

Last edited by Harm Millaard; November 29th, 2009 at 05:49 AM.
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Old November 29th, 2009, 01:18 PM   #28
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Yes, the Intel onboard Raid has a limit of 2TB no matter what you do. However, maybe your ESB2 has 'Matrix Raid' similar to the desktop ICH#R where you can create 2 separate raid arrays using the same drives. (the arrays can be different or identical)

Harm, I need to correct your article again. Not all Highpoints are software based. Everything from their 3xxx to 4xxx series are hardware based using Intel IOP chips.

For a little more than the Adaptec, there is the LSI 9260-8i
Newegg.com - LSI LSI00202 PCI Express Low Profile Ready SATA / SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) MegaRAID SAS 9260-8i Kit - Controllers / RAID Cards

It has 8 SAS/SATA 6Gb ports and PCI-E x8 2.0. Since you are using your last PCI-E slot, maybe you shouldn't limit yourself with just 4 ports. This card will future proof you since it supports 6Gb drives and PCI-E 2.0. Plus, it is very fast and a solid card.

Is this Raid 0 array to store your video for editing? If it is, then I HIGHLY suggest not using Intel's onboard Raid. I have lost data twice from using Raid 0 with the onboard Intel Raid due to a system hang and a BSOD and it was with 4 Raptors. Both times, the array was degraded and it wouldn't allow me to set all drives as normal.
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Old November 29th, 2009, 01:37 PM   #29
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Steve,

I have never said ALL Highpoints were software based, I said the COMMON Highpoints were software based.

You are nitpicking, aren't you?
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Old November 29th, 2009, 06:40 PM   #30
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I can create two RAID 0s from the same disks, but I don't like the idea. I always thought partitioning your drives was a bad idea.

Yes, the RAID 0 is for storing all my video files.

The LSI controller is more than double the cost of the Adaptec (~$490 vs ~$1050)one over here.

The 4 port LSI controller is also quite a lot more expensive ($700) than the Adaptec. I really don't feel the need for 8 ports. I usually keep the drive pretty clean and back up the final products as soon as I'm through with a project and clear it off the RAID drive. So I think 4 ports is fine. Is the Adaptec one a dead loss? Or maybe I'll just get that Highpoint one since I'll only be using RAID 0. I just hope that I do see performance improvement...
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